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August 29, 2015 / 14 Elul, 5775
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Judaism
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Spiritual Cafe: Fighting The Sin of Forgetfulness
 
‘US and Iranian Cartoon Doves’ Shown Defecating on Bibi by Swiss Amb to Iran

August 28, 2015 - 6:57 PM
 
Sen. Cotton to Visit Israel for More Ammunition against Iran Deal

August 28, 2015 - 2:30 PM
 
Princeton U. to Get ‘Plastic’ Eruv [video]

August 28, 2015 - 12:55 PM
 
WWII-Era Jewish Café Reopens in Shanghai

August 28, 2015 - 11:07 AM
 
Arab Spring May Be Blowing into Gaza

August 28, 2015 - 10:52 AM
 
One-Third of Americans in Israel Live in Judea and Samaria

August 28, 2015 - 9:51 AM
 
State Dept Spox: No Worries, Parchin has No Nuclear Dimensions

August 28, 2015 - 4:18 AM
 
Canadian JDL Protesting Billionaire Barry Sherman’s Fundraising for Liberals

August 27, 2015 - 11:05 PM
 
Saudis Arrest Mastermind of 1996 Bombing that Killed 19 US Airmen on Iran’s Orders

August 27, 2015 - 10:58 PM
 
Trump and Cruz Together to Fight Iran Deal in DC on Sept. 9

August 27, 2015 - 10:54 PM
 
Barenboim to Conduct German Orchestra in Iran Despite Israel’s Protests and the Absence of Opera in Islamic Republic

August 27, 2015 - 10:51 PM
 
InterNations Ranks Israel 4th in the World in Hospitality to Foreigners

August 27, 2015 - 10:45 PM
 
Surreal: Israeli Police Raids Conference Against Anti-Democratic Administrative Detention

August 27, 2015 - 10:33 PM
 
DM Ya’alon Advises ‘Zero Tolerance’ on Violence Against Hareidi Soldiers

August 27, 2015 - 10:19 PM
 
Now More than a Dozen Democratic Reps Against Nuclear Iran Deal

August 27, 2015 - 9:53 PM
 
‘Arise and Ascend’ — A New Guide to the Temple Mount

August 27, 2015 - 8:34 PM
 
Obama and Biden Running after the Jews to Back ‘ObamaDeal’

August 27, 2015 - 7:00 PM
 
Jews Return to City of David Complex after 77 Years

August 27, 2015 - 5:29 PM
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Close your eyes, breathe in deeply, now exhale slowly… That was easy, wasn’t it? Not for everyone…



Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
 

Posted on: September 25th, 2012

JudaismParsha

Yom Kipper, the Day of Atonement, is the supreme moment of Jewish time, a day of fasting and prayer, introspection and self-judgment. At no other time are we so sharply conscious of standing before God, of being known by Him. But it begins in the strangest of ways.

 

Posted on: September 20th, 2012

JudaismParsha

By now Moses had given 612 commands to the Israelites. But there was one further instruction he still had to give, the last of his life, the final mitzvah in the Torah: “Now therefore write this song and teach it to the people of Israel. Put it in their mouths, that this song may be My witness against the people of Israel” (Deuteronomy 31: 19).

 

Posted on: September 12th, 2012

JudaismParsha

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is a kind of clarion call, a summons to the Ten Days of Penitence that culminate in the Day of Atonement. The Torah calls it “the day when the horn is sounded,” and its central event is the sounding of the shofar.

 

Posted on: September 5th, 2012

JudaismHalacha & Hashkafa

It would be reasonable to assume that a language that contains the verb “to command” must also contain the verb “to obey.” The one implies the other, just as the concept of a question implies the possibility of an answer. We would, however, be wrong. There are 613 commandments in the Torah, but there is no word in biblical Hebrew that means “to obey.” When Hebrew was revived as a language of everyday speech in the nineteenth century, a word, letsayet, had to be borrowed from Aramaic. Until then there was no Hebrew word for “to obey.”

 

Posted on: August 29th, 2012

JudaismParsha

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness...” (Dr. Martin Luther King).

 

Posted on: August 22nd, 2012

JudaismParsha

There is a fascinating detail in the passage about the king in this week’s parshah. The text says that, “When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he must write for himself a copy of this Torah on a scroll before the levitical priests” (Deuteronomy 17:18). He must “read it all the days of his life” so that he will be God-fearing and never break Torah law. But there is also another reason: so that he will “not begin to feel superior to his brethren” (Kaplan translation), “so that his heart be not haughty over his brothers” (Robert Alter). The king had to have humility. The highest in the land should not feel that he is the highest in the land.

 

Posted on: August 15th, 2012

JudaismParsha

Having set out the broad principles of the covenant, Moses now turns to the details, which extend over many chapters and several parshiyot. The long review of the laws that will govern Israel in its land begin and end with Moses posing a momentous choice.

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Posted on: August 9th, 2012

JudaismParsha

Something implicit in the Torah from the very beginning becomes explicit in the book of Devarim. God is the God of love. More than we love Him, He loves us. Here, for instance, is the beginning of this week’s parshah: “If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the Lord your God will keep his covenant of love [et ha-brit ve-et ha-chessed] with you, as he swore to your ancestors. He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers” (Deuteronomy 7:12-13).

 

Posted on: August 1st, 2012

JudaismParsha

Near the end of Parshas Va’etchanan, so inconspicuously that we can sometimes miss it, is a statement with such far-reaching implications that it challenges the impression that has prevailed thus far in the Torah, giving an entirely new complexion to the biblical image of the people Israel:

 

Posted on: July 18th, 2012

JudaismParsha

During The Three Weeks between 17 Tammuz and Tisha B’Av, as we recall the destruction of the Temples, we read three of the most searing passages in the prophetic literature, the first two from the opening of the book of Jeremiah, the third, next week, from the first chapter of Isaiah.

 

Posted on: June 27th, 2012

JudaismParsha

It is a scene that still has the power to shock and disturb. The people complain. There is no water. It is an old complaint and a predictable one. That’s what happens in a desert. Moses should have been able to handle it in his stride. He has been through far tougher challenges in his time. Yet suddenly he explodes into vituperative anger:

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Posted on: June 13th, 2012

JudaismParsha

The episode of the spies has rightly puzzled commentators throughout the centuries. How could they have got it so wrong? The land, they said, was as Moses had promised. It was indeed “flowing with milk and honey.” But conquering it was impossible. “The people who live there are powerful, and the cities fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of the giant there … We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are … All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the titans there … We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and so we seemed in theirs” (Numbers 13:28-33).

 

Posted on: June 6th, 2012

JudaismParsha

Adaptive leadership is called for when the world is changing, circumstances are no longer what they were, and what once worked works no more. There is no quick fix, no pill, no simple following of instructions. We have to change. At a certain point, Moses had to help the Israelites change, to exercise responsibility, to learn to do things for themselves while trusting in God instead of relying on God to do things for them.

 

Posted on: June 1st, 2012

JudaismParsha

There was an ongoing debate between the Sages as to whether the nazirite – whose laws are outlined in this week’s parshah – was to be praised. Recall that the nazirite was someone who voluntarily, usually for a specified period, undertook a special form of holiness. This meant that he was forbidden to consume wine or any grape products, to have a haircut, and to defile himself by contact with the dead.

 

Posted on: May 2nd, 2012

JudaismParsha

It is simply not the same to put on tefillin or keep kashrut or observe Shabbat in the Diaspora as in Israel. The Torah is the constitution of a holy people in the holy land. Only in Israel is the fulfillment of the commands a society-building exercise, shaping the contours of a culture as a whole. Only in Israel does the calendar track the rhythms of the Jewish year.

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Posted on: April 25th, 2012

JudaismParsha

It was the Septuagint, the early Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, that translated tzara’at, the condition whose identification and cleansing occupies much of Parshiyot Tazria and Metzora as lepra, giving rise to a long tradition identifying it with leprosy.

 

Posted on: April 18th, 2012

JudaismParsha

Why was spontaneity wrong for Nadav and Avihu, yet right for Moshe Rabbeinu? The answer is that Nadav and Avihu were kohanim, priests. Moses was a navi, a prophet. These are two different forms of religious leadership. They involve different tasks and different sensibilities, indeed different approaches to time itself.

 

Posted on: March 28th, 2012

JudaismParsha

In her book The Watchman’s Rattle, subtitled Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction, Rebecca Costa delivers a fascinating account of how civilizations die. Their problems become too complex. Societies reach what she calls a cognitive threshold. They simply can’t chart a path from the present to the future.

 

Posted on: March 22nd, 2012

JudaismParsha

We think of a sin as something we did intentionally, yielding to temptation perhaps, or in a moment of rebellion. That is what Jewish law calls b’zadon in biblical Hebrew or b’mezid in rabbinic Hebrew. That is the kind of act we would have thought calls for a sin offering. But actually such an act cannot be atoned for by an offering at all. So how do we make sense of the sin offering?

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Posted on: March 14th, 2012

JudaismParsha

The name Bezalel was adopted by the artist Boris Schatz for the School of Arts and Crafts he founded in Israel in 1906, and Rav Kook wrote a touching letter in support of its creation. He saw the renaissance of art in the Holy Land as a symbol of the regeneration of the Jewish people in its own land, landscape and birthplace. Judaism in the Diaspora, removed from a natural connection with its own historic environment, was inevitably cerebral and spiritual, “alienated.”

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